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Big movements in left hand - any tips?


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#16 Latin pianist

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 15:18

I find this really interesting, and I just sight read a piece with leaps in it to see what I do, and I didn't really look at the keyboard. And I could move down to a particular note with any finger, so it must be keyboard geography knowledge.I think learning leaps in an individual piece and practising them again and again is part of a step to being able to sight read any leap. But eventually it has to become similar to touch typing where you can go to any key without looking. That only comes after lots of typing or lots of playing the piano.And while you're learning this, you have to look, but eventually you won't have to look even though you haven't consciously practised not looking. Hope that makes sense!
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#17 EllieD

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 19:59

Thank you for your thoughts, everyone!

 

Polkadot - I had a go at Italian Song about a month ago - I think I got on with it OK, I think I managed the LH there because most of the movement is within the octave. I may have another go at it tomorrow to refresh my memory.

 

Latin pianist - I am sure you are right, and that some of these things will happen without actively practicing them. In fact, sometimes I have forgotten to look and ended up in the right place! I just wouldn't be confident to rely on that just yet, but that would indicate that my brain is probably capable of more than I realise.

 

Sbhoa - yes, definitely constantly looking up and down is going to get in the way of playing the piece to the best level possible - I suppose then it's a question of whether it's easier to look at the music and have a very strong grasp of keyboard geography, or whether it's easier to memorise - I suppose ultimately it really doesn't matter which of those is opted for, provided the end result is as good as it can be. I would just hate to think I'm cheating in some way by not making the effort to learn those leaps without looking!


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#18 agricola

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 21:57

If you need to look when making a left-hand move it pays to 'look before you leap'.  In other words don't start the move down before you have spotted the key you are going to land on.  This is because your brain is very good at estimating the movement you need to make between the two notes as long as you have fed in the data.  The result should be a smooth arc with no adjustments needed. In order to do this fluently I always try to read the left hand notes a bar ahead.  Black notes are easier to land on than white which I think is why so many technically difficult pieces are in advanced keys.


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#19 EllieD

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 08:15

That's a good point, agricola. In fact, sometimes I have found that provided I do, indeed, look before I leap, I don't actually have to be looking where I'm going while I'm actually moving, if that makes sense - my brain can remember where the target is. I too often use black notes as something to aim for (I've even written it on the music sometimes, to remind me where to go!), and that can work too sometimes.


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#20 agricola

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 09:54

Another little trick is to use your thumb as a guide if you are leaping to a single note.  Eg supposing I want to leap from middle C to the C two octaves lower, I can open my hand out into an octave span, then I only need to spot the C one octave lower (where my thumb will touch but not play the note).  This can be useful in stride basses so you don't have to turn your head to look at the lowest notes.


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#21 polkadot

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 10:50

Does anyone else get a little frisson of satisfaction when it works - for a brief few bars it makes me feel like a proper pianist :D


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#22 EllieD

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 14:47

Does anyone else get a little frisson of satisfaction when it works - for a brief few bars it makes me feel like a proper pianist :D

 

Yes, indeed, it is a good feeling ... and then I'll go and stick a random F sharp into a piece that's in E Flat Major so it doesn't take too long to come back down to Earth!! :lol: 

 

As for the Schubert piece that started this thread - well, I did have another go at it, and finally managed to get it up to the correct speed - but by then I'd memorized it anyway so was just watching the left hand whenever I needed!! I think this is just going to be my way of doing it now (whether I want to or not!), and if I have problems at a later date, I'll have to cross that bridge when I get to it.

 

Thanks again everyone for all your thoughts and tips!


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